Posted by: pursuingsub17 | July 23, 2013

Training for an Ironman? It isn’t as tough as you think – but you are tired a lot….and hungry.

I have one more week left of heavy training and then I start to taper. I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. I guess it’s because you’re constantly looking ahead at your plan and completing milestones and next thing you know, you’re there.

It’s been such a whirlwind, I keep wondering if I’ve trained enough. But then I look at my last long bike ride and run and I think “yes – I can do this.” I’m not expecting a pro-level finish. But I do know I will finish anywhere from 15 hours to 16 hours and I think that’s a pretty reasonable expectation (personally, leaning toward 15:30 in my head doing the math). It just stuns me that almost three months have just flown by. I did have a bout of the flu and a bad chest cold that set me back a wee bit but I’m surprised that I bounced back quickly. It makes me realize that waiting for this dream goal paid off. I did get frustrated when I didn’t feel ready after completing a 70.3 or when I was too broke to sign up but maybe it happened for a reason. I know what to expect mentally. I’ve been preparing and built up my stamina and strength over the last four years so training for this iron distance race seemed a lot easier than what I expected. Although I did tell Marc last night that if I was pushing for an 11 or 12 hour finish, I’m sure I would have trained more often and harder.

So if anyone tells you it’s hard to train for an Ironman, don’t listen to them. Just set your expectations at a reasonable goal….and be patient and train for shorter distances for a few years first. I think it would have been tough for me to jump from a sprint to suddenly train for an Ironman. There’s no way I could adjust from an hour long training ride to suddenly sitting on that hard little seat for 5 hours. So that would be my advice I guess for anyone contemplating it. Two things – if you really want to do an Ironman next year without any prior conditioning, expect it to be tough and don’t set your finishing time expectations too high and definitely go on the 36 week plan. But if you want to build up to doing an iron distance, I highly recommend doing a couple sprints and a marathon, then the following couple years, train for sprints, maybe an olympic distance and a few half irons. Then when you are ready to train for the full distance, you’ll be in better shape and you have a better idea of what to expect. Two years ago I was ready to cry when my bike training day was approaching 3.5 hours, I wanted off the bike so bad. Two years later, I feel like I could keep going after completing 5.5 hours.

All that being said, there’s a few things to definitely expect. Expect to be tired…ALL the time. Get as much sleep as you can but you’ll still be tired. Eat properly. Make sure you’re getting your vitamin c. Take Cold Fx or Immunity Fx if you are feeling even slightly run down. But regardless, you will feel like you have a perpetual hangover for 4-5 months, depending on what training program you are on. I imagine that hangover will also last at least a month after the big race.

Expect to be hungry all the time. Well, for me, I can’t even think of eating solid food after a long workout. It usually takes at least a couple hours before I can eat something solid. But I will have liquid calories (no – ha ha – not beer and wine) in the form of a protein shake or a can of Coke. But then, I’m famished after those two hours are up. I also eat all day at work. My co-workers laugh at my cupboard full of snacks in my office. I jump from craving salt and carbs to suddenly craving sweets within an hour. Remember though – eat properly. I eat 6-7 times a day but I learned to eat healthy foods – no Big Macs at 2pm when I go to pick up the mail.

So that’s where I am right now – the training has been going really well, which is why I feel like I’m not training enough because I do have time to fit it all in. Yes, my bathroom gets cleaned once every 3 weeks and there’s always dirty water bottles piling up and the dog feels ignored but I don’t feel like “Why did I do this!!??. It’s more like “why is this easier than I thought??” I have had to make some sacrifices regarding family and friends but maybe I’m lucky because there haven’t been complaints. Maybe they get it. I know my boss doesn’t so I just don’t talk about it. I don’t train during my work hours anyway – and if they want to do something after work, I just say I have plans. I just can’t believe this goal that I set for myself back in 2009 is going to happen in about a month though…again, where has the time gone???

And in all this training, I’ve still had time to plan my wedding. Everything is almost done. Just have to wait for the date to come about. Maybe it’s just that I’m good at multi-tasking – and Marc and my cousin have been a big help with executing wedding plans.

But I am still fighting falling asleep at my desk! I’m sure when I get back from Penticton in September, I will sleep 24 hours.

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